[…] Soon, however, momentum for the stage musical took off, and the mixtape plan took a back seat. Mr. Morales reached out to members of the Roots, the “Tonight Show” house band and a pillar of hip-hop themselves, to help produce the original cast recording as well as the mixtape. They were reluctant. Roots co-founder and rapper Tariq Trotter, also known as Black Thought, says he steeled himself for awkwardness when he was dragged to an off-Broadway performance of “Hamilton.” “I did not want to be stuck in a room where people were going to be rapping conversations,” Mr. Trotter recalls.
Instead, the result was a “total fanning out” with Mr. Miranda after the show. Roots drummer Ahmir Thompson, known as Questlove, joined Mr. Trotter and the other executive producers. They applied hip-hop studio techniques to the original cast recording to help it stand out from other theater soundtracks. The cast album earned a Grammy, has sold 873,000 copies and received 883 million streams, according to Nielsen Music.
When the producers turned their attention back to the mixtape, they found their list of star contributors growing in step with the musical’s popularity. John Legend reimagined “History Has Its Eyes On You,” a showtune delivered by George Washington, as a gospel anthem. Kelly Clarkson was pregnant with her son when she first heard the song that she recorded, “It’s Quiet Uptown,” a ballad about Hamilton’s deceased son that left her in a “puddle of tears,” as she told Mr. Kallman via email.
The mixtape also features rough demos recorded by Mr. Miranda when he was writing the show, plus new songs such as “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done).” Inspired by a now-famous line in the musical, the song features a closing verse in Spanish by the Puerto Rican rapper Residente.
Mr. Trotter says he initially struggled to add his own words to “My Shot,” the Hamilton character’s signature song. The rapper scrapped multiple versions and literal references to duels and muskets. “It didn’t roll off the tongue until I took a step back and dealt with different kinds of life-changing shots,” he says. He launches his verse with “mug shot, gun shot, dope shot, jump shot.”
For certain tunes, the producers received verses from a half-dozen different artists recorded at different times and places. As they mixed and matched these contributions, they realized they had enough surplus material to consider a “Hamilton Mixtape” volume two.
The new album is aimed at “Hamilton” fans who have worn out the Broadway soundtrack, but the show’s creator also sees it as another Trojan horse for hip-hop. “In a way you’re an ambassador for the genre,” Mr. Miranda says, recalling guidelines he offered to mixtape contributors. “Make your verses about whatever you want, but come with bars and serious lyrics to get people even more hooked on this incredible style of music.”
A lot of fans wanted to know about that bathing scene in Sebastian’s cinematic record…. The manga shows this rather obscured version:
You can’t tell where Sebastian’s left hand is. We assume he’s steadying the earl from falling, but… where is he grabbing? The earl’s right hand? Some other… appendage?? Well, the anime team must have had to figure out where to place his other hand. This is what they decided to do:
We will probably never know where his hand was supposed to be in the manga…. Perhaps they even just forgot to draw it in? Who knows; Yana-san and K-san might never explain it….
Two time Grammy Award winner Ed Sheeran has recently
announced that his 3rd studio album, Divide, will soon be released
on March 3rd. In anticipation of his new album, Sheeran has released
two singles from the album, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill”. After
Sheeran took a yearlong break from society, he has returned better than before
and ready for action. Although we have to wait a few more months to hear the
entire album, the two songs that Sheeran has shared with us are so different
from each other that nobody truly knows what to expect from this album. My
favorite of the two is “Castle on the Hill”. The storyline made me think about
all of the wonderful adventures I’ve had throughout my childhood and how much I
miss being a kid. In the lines where Ed shares what his friends are presently
up to, I was able to relate because my childhood friends are the people who
shaped the person I am today and I’ve grown from those experiences. You can
watch the “Castle on the Hill” music video here.
Last week, I was able to meet Ed himself at his record
label, Atlantic Records, and was invited to an exclusive Q&A and acoustic
performance of his new music. Buzzfeed author, Kristin Harris, was at the event
and interviewed Ed about his approach to the new album. In the interview, Ed
shared with us his crazy experiences while writing the album, his new year
resolution, and the struggles he had to face while working on Divide. Harris
asked Sheeran, “How’s your writing process, and do you have times when you
struggle to come up with song ideas?” Sheeran responded, “Yeah, I have writer’s
block all the time. I think to be a good writer you have to know when not to
push it. So when I have writer’s block I just enjoy the fact that I have
writer’s block and I’ll just not write and just chill out.” The full Buzzfeed article
can be found here.
After we asked Ed some questions and the interview was over,
Sheeran whipped out his acoustic guitar and started singing “Castle on the Hill”
for us. It was so special to be able to watch him up close with only 15 other
people in the room. Parts of the performance made me forget exactly where I was
and what was happening. Next, Sheeran performed “Shape of You” and he told us
how excited he was about this single and how he hopes this will be his first
Billboard #1. That same week, “Shape of You” was announced #1 on the Billboard
charts. Being able to experience Ed’s anticipation for his new music firsthand
was an incredible feeling. After his performance, there was a meet and greet
opportunity for the 15 people in the room, including myself. I was able to take
a polaroid picture with Ed and talk to him about his future plans. He said he
hoped to be going on tour this year once the album is released.
This week, Ed announced his World Tour for 2017. I am so
excited to be able to hear a live performance of the entire album, along with
his previous work. Although nothing will be able to beat a 15 person audience
acoustic performance, his tour is sure to be incredible.